Document management is an important objective for any company, particularly in industries with strict compliance measures requiring fast and frequent access to digitized archives, reports and other records. But with so many options for document management software, scanners and other tools, how can you be sure your strategy is sound?
Here is a list of features you need for effective document management:
- Powerful Search: Whether you’re using a customized document management solution or an “off-the-shelf” program, it’s important to be able to search for and find exactly what you need – whether it’s text or OCR (optical character recognition) – and no matter what the content type.
- Revision History: Your program should preserve all versions of a document while also providing instant access to the newest version of the file. This ensures that all iterations of the document are preserved, allowing you to quickly find or roll back to earlier versions.
- Retention Rules: The ability to define document retention and disposition rules is an important part of any document management system. Such rules reduce operating and storage costs and minimize the legal risks of keeping unneeded documents or destroying necessary files.
- User Access Controls: Access controls allow you to define which users and departments can view which types of documents. For example, you may grant permission for your HR department to view salary and benefits information while restricting access to such files to other employees. This is important, as role-based document access provides the right permissions to the right employees while safeguarding sensitive or confidential company information.
- Seamless Import Capabilities: Your program should offer importing features that allow users to add folders or individual documents quickly and easily using standard operations like copy-and-paste, drag-and-drop or right-click and select. A good system will allow you to import files by the hundreds or one at a time while retaining content hierarchy of folders and subfolders. Importing also should give users immediate access to documents and allow them to save new versions in real time.
- Integrated Workflow Options and Routing: Workflow options allow you to design, manage and support document workflows, improving efficiency by automating and speeding up business processes. A good program will give you the tools you need to create predefined workflow rules and parameters, even with the most complex processes, as well as role-based workflow security, team-based workflows, and yes-no decisioning.
If you’re not sure your document management program is up to snuff – or if you need to build one from the ground up – you may consider hiring a consultant to advise you on the best solution for your business, whether it’s an off-the-shelf program or a custom strategy.